Flash Class: It's All About Perspective

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The Overview Effect is a psychological phenomenon that astronauts experience as they view the Earth from space for the first time. It can cause an extreme cognitive shift that alters one’s perspective on planetary conflict, and induces a newfound empathy for all living beings on Earth. 

On Earth, humans live fast-paced and distracted lives. By measuring activity in a part of the brain called the right supramarginal gyrus we now know that people become less empathetic the more chaotic and distracted their lives become. Disconnecting from devices, making human connections, and slowing down to enjoy our environments -- through community gatherings, music, and art -- can cause this compassionate part of the brain to light up and grow; helping us become more empathetically-evolved humans… much the way The Overview Effect does from space.

Join us for a discussion on perspective, and how we can work to encourage a culture of empathy through Science, Community, Music, and Art.

Annie Mitchell, MaryLiz Bender, Becky Steele

Flash Class: A Very Weird Star - Scientists aren't yet saying it's not aliens!

Jennifer Carter will discuss KIC 8462852, a star approximately 1,300 light years from Earth, which has been demonstrating a really-peculiar dimming signal.  The star’s unusual brightness fluctuations were first observed by citizen scientists participating in the web-based Planet Hunters project.  Follow-up observations by astronomer Tabetha Boyajian and others have eliminated many possible explanations.  But one explanation still in the running is the possibility that these fluctuations are caused by a Dyson Swarm…a hypothetical megastructure constructed by exterritorial intelligence that would harness all or most of the energy from a host star to power an advanced civilization.

Preparing to Show Up...Unprepared

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Improvisational theater and games have long been recognized as fun hobbies and entertainment...and for what they teach us about being present and spontaneous. Less is known about the specific principles and practices if improv and how they can transform how we relate to one another in our personal and professional lives.

At IF Humana’s Head of Innovation and long-time improv performer Busy Burr, will explore how being comfortable with being “unprepared” has changed how she lives and works.  She will show us how improv basics — such as extreme empathy, exquisite listening and the act of offering and giving — can enable a more curious, creative and rewarding life.

Beyond Pain and Horror: Rebuilding a Future

At age 10 William Kellibrew witnessed the murders of his mother and 12-year old brother by his mom's former boyfriend. He was then forced to beg for his life at gunpoint. Throughout his childhood Kellibrew has had to suffer through horrific pain and terror. After ultimately finding his footing Kellibrew began to share his message and become an advocate for issues surrounding violence, trauma, child-abuse…and the profound impacts on individuals and families, as well as recovery and rebuilding. At IdeaFestival you will hear his story.

The Cyberpunk Future is Coming for You

Mathematician, computer scientist, well-known science fiction author and Louisville native Rudy Rucker comes to IdeaFestival 2017 to discuss and explore what our near and longer-term tech future might bring. As a mathematician, a founder of the cyberpunk literary movement and winner of several Philip K. Dick awards for science fiction, Rucker's thoughts on the future are fascinating, thought provoking, fresh…and on-the-whole upbeat.